30 Richest Musicians of 2014

Categories: Lists

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Photo by Sayre Berman
Miley is smiley 'cause she made $36 million in the last 365 days.

Glitz. Glamour. And obscene, seven-figure weekly paychecks.

Such is the life of the rich and famous pop tarts, rock stars, rappers, and superstar DJs who enrich our lives with their inspiring music, spectacular tours, semi-nude Instapics, and endless drug-taking, DUI-ing, sex tape-ing antics.

Can you imagine making $100,000 a day? Well, even the poorest among Forbes' highest-paid musicians of 2014, like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, pull down that many greenbacks every 24 hours.

Others, meanwhile, mint that much moola in 60 minutes. All day. All night. All year.

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The Most Influential Arizona Punk Records: #6 - Conflict, Last Hour

Categories: Lists

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Conflict

"I never thought that anything associated with hardcore would have a 'lasting impression.' The music and the people were pariahs, [who] were at best tolerated in my experience. My own sisters laughed at me. My east-side musician friends didn't think I was in a 'real' band.'" - Bill Cuevas, Conflict guitarist.

Depending on your stance, the diversity in punk rock, both in how a band or performer sounds or behaves, is either a great thing or a thorn in your side. Conflict was such a band. Ahead of their time, definitely, and full of deliciously angst-ridden rage, for sure, but not part of the cookie-cutter hardcore scene that thrived in their time and for years after their demise. Hell, there's even a much more well-known hardcore band from England with the same name stealing their thunder to this day, but we'll talk about that a bit later.

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8 Best Christmas Songs Written By Jews

Categories: Lists

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A still from Judy Garland Christmas Special
The incomparable (and Jewish) Mel Torme, singing here with Judy Garland. Torme penned the iconic "The Christmas Song."

As an American Jew in December, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, Christmas is a very important Christian holiday, while for Jews, Hanukkah isn't even in the top three. Everywhere you look there is a light display, nativity scene, or TV whacko reminding you that the vast majority of your fellow countrymen don't share your religious beliefs. But turn on the radio, and the sappy "Christmas" songs you hear every year are mostly secular. And guess what? Many of those songs were written by Jews, who were often recent immigrants or their children. So these Jewish songwriters, while trying ton integrate into an at-times hostile society, wrote some of the most timeless holiday songs, focusing not on divinity but on universal experiences like missing loved ones during the holidays and the sweet smell of roasted chestnuts. So the following songs, all written by Jews, are not just celebrations of the most unifying parts of the holiday season -- family and togetherness -- but a triumph of the American melting pot immigrant experience. In honor of the first night of Hanukkah, here are the eight best Christmas songs written by Jews.

P.S.: The worst Christmas song ever, "Do They Know It's Christmas," was not written by a Jew. One of the song's writers, Bob Geldof, has a Jewish paternal grandmother, but Geldof told a magazine that he currently practices no religion. Whew.

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10 More Underrated Punk Records: A Christmas List

Categories: Lists

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Tom Reardon

It's that time of year again, kids. I'm sure you know the one. It's time to ask your Aunt Jean for a new record to throw on the family stereo at inopportune times so you can show how tortured your teenage soul has become. You need this, badly, and Aunt Jean is just crazy enough to say yes, take you down to the local record store, and pony up the dough for a record or two your parents would never buy.

Solely because I care, here's a list of 10 records you can ask the ol' spinster for, because though they are classics in some households, sadly, they've been overlooked in too many others. They come guaranteed to piss off your dad, render your mom incontinent, startle your pastor, and turn your older sister into a drug addict, but what do you care? Record collecting is where it's at, and someday you're going to work in a strip mall anyway, so you'll need a good Christmas (or Hanukah or Festivus) story to share.

If you can find 'em, buy these . . .

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10 Most Influential Punk Records of Arizona: #7 - Victory Acres/Joke Flower Split LP

Categories: Lists

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Placebo Records

This one is very personal.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit, I am a huge fan of Dan Clark. I loved watching Victory Acres play as a young'un and I still love listening to them now. As for Joke Flower, they were more of a guilty pleasure, as most of my friends would shake their head and just sort of laugh when they came up in conversation, but there was something about them I never let go of, even after all of these years.

The story of the Victory Acres/Joke Flower split record, which was one of the last releases by Placebo Records, is really the story of a man and his wife and some of their cool and talented friends. Each side of the record has a distinct flavor and while the measure of influence is always subjective, this record and the primary players who made it, influenced countless people in and out of Arizona.

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20 Best Concert Photos of 2014

Categories: Lists

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Melissa Fossum
This photo of Jurassic 5 should put a smile on your face.

2014 was a hell of a year. Phoenix residents got a taste of a wide variety of awesome concerts, and our photographers were hard at work capturing the action. Here are our 20 favorite concert photos we took in 2014. Check out more than 100 more here.

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The Ten Most Underrated Guitarists in the History of Rock

Categories: Lists

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Asylum Records/Wikimedia Commons
Joni Mitchell: One of history's most underrated guitarists.

By Adam Perry

While traveling from Denver to Texas a few weeks ago, I could not stop listening to Mutiny on the Bay, the searing collection of '80s Dead Kennedys performances released in 2001; East Bay Ray, it occurred to me, is one of the most underrated guitarists in the history of rock.

To me, being underrated doesn't mean that a musician has missed out on accolades and commercial success. It means that, for whatever reason, millions of music lovers probably haven't been exposed to a certain musician's talents and thus haven't had the chance to enjoy him or her. So here -- up for potential enjoyment and probably heated discussion -- are 10 guitarists I believe are history's most underrated.

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Where to Find Traditional Holiday Music Concerts in Phoenix

Categories: Lists

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Tim Trumble
The Phoenix Chorale

Sometimes, there's no better way to get in the spirit of the holidays than to listen to some of the great music that has endured centuries. Phoenix is full of orchestras, choirs, and instrumentalists dedicated to classical music. Here is where to find classical holiday music in Metro Phoenix.

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10 Most Influential Punk Records of Arizona: #8: Mighty Sphincter's Untitled 1984 EP

Categories: Lists

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Discogs.com

Arizona has no shortage of offensive band names. One might even say we're right up there with Texas in having the most offensive band names per capita. Mighty Sphincter is no exception.

The band itself is something of an enigma. Known, perhaps, by fans of the dark and spooky worldwide, Mighty Sphincter's odd time signatures and punk/metal riffage make them an utterly unique band, not only in their home state, but in the music world. Led by guitarist Doug Clark, who has in many ways been Mr. Everything for the band over the entire span of their career, Sphincter (as fans and Phoenix music folks typically refer to the band) has never really officially ended its significant run.

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11 Best Metal Concerts in Phoenix in December

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Opeth

It's that time of year where I get to say "'Tis the season to be metal."

The temperatures have finally fallen, and some of our favorite metal band's touring schedules are still in full swing. It's that time of year where we can leave those sweaty mosh pits and emerge into some crisp cool air.

The season for giving is bringing a bounty of metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to an array of locals and major international legends. As such, we're on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.

That's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of December. There's prominent metal acts like Emmure, Devin Townsend and Opeth, charity benefit shows to help feed the hungry, and a major two-day festival featuring the top Valley metal bands. There's also three killer shows on December 5 -- so skip the whiskey so you can check out at least two.

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